December 03, 2008

Ensign Sparky, A Fable

Sometimes, things just collide in my head. In this case, it was these posts from Dr. Isis and these posts from DrugMonkey. This particular story, however, is in no way their fault. Yeah, it gets a little strange in here.

Ensign Sparky heard a high-pitched scream and ran forward, pulling out his phaser. Rounding the corner into the Enterprise's dining area, he saw only his captain. Confused, he looked into the corners of the room.

"Ensign!" It came out as a squeak.

Sparky turned back toward his captain and took in the details he had missed in his haste. How could he have failed to note that Kirk was crouching on a chair? His hairpiece askew, his lower lip clenched in his teeth--those were things he could have overlooked. The cowering posture? Not so much.

Kirk cleared his throat. "Ensign!" His voice dropped back to normal.

Sparky snapped to attention. "Yes, sir!"

"Is it gone?"


Kirk pointed to the floor without letting go of his legs. "Is it gone?"

Sparky looked around, unsure what he was supposed to be seeing. Just as he was about to declare the room clean, he saw movement near the replicator. It was just a tiny flick of...was it a tail? Then it was gone. He marched to the replicator to investigate.

"Be careful!" Kirk's voice drifted upward again.

Sparky pried loose the panel below the chute. More than a dozen tiny things scurried out. He didn't know what else to call the half fuzzy, half leathery creatures that rushed away into shadows.

Kirk screamed again. "Get them! Get them!"

Doubting the propriety of permanently zapping anything that moved like his favorite pet lizard, Sparky set his phaser on its lowest stun setting. As the ensign moved around the room, Kirk squeaked out bloodthirsty encouragement. Then, just as Sparky stunned the last of them, the captain screamed again.

Sparky whipped around. Another of the strange creatures was wriggling its way out of the guts of the replicator. He stunned it too. "All taken care of, sir."

Kirk was still huddled on the chair, staring at the replicator.

"Uh, sir?"

Kirk blinked but didn't look away. "Get me out of here."

"Yes, sir." The captain didn't move. Not sure what to do, Sparky stepped up and held out a hand. "May I help you down, sir?"

Kirk shook his head vigorously. "There might be more of them!"

"Yes, sir." Sparky stepped around behind the chair and tugged on its back. The chair didn't move but Kirk wobbled. He squeaked again.

Sparky sighed. "May I carry you, sir?"

"Of course, ensign."

Scooping the fetally curled captain into his arms wasn't easy, but Sparky managed. Kirk relaxed slightly.

Once they'd passed through the doorway, Kirk uncurled enough to run one finger along Sparky's collarbone. "Blue isn't really your color, ensign. Do you have any engineering background?"

Sparky swallowed. "No, sir."

"Tactical it is, then." Kirk snuggled closer to Sparky. "You'll look so much better in red."

Sparky didn't say anything. He knew about Kirk's young men. Everyone did. Cushy assignment while it lasted but all too likely to end in disaster when Kirk got bored.

Luckily, they heard footsteps ahead just then. Kirk pushed frantically at Sparky's chest. "Put me down!"

Sparky was happy to oblige. The captain straightened his shirt and his hair.

A small squad in red came into sight just ahead and stopped. Their leader stepped forward. "Captain, we heard a report of phaser discharge. Is everything okay, sir?"

Kirk waved away their concern with an excess of nonchalance. "Nothing I couldn't handle." He looked down. "Still, you may accompany me to the bridge."

Sparky was trying to slip away when he felt the captain's hand on his shoulder. "You too, ensign."

Kirk tapped his communicator. "Bones meet me on the bridge in..." He glanced from Sparky to the floor. "Oh, better make it right now."

Sparky had never been on the bridge before. It was a little intimidating, especially when Kirk made him stand just behind the captain's chair as he chewed out Dr. McCoy.

"Bones, you said this was all taken care of after the Tribbles incident. You were supposed to recalibrate the ship's contraception field for every new animal brought on board."

McCoy looked somehow even more sour than usual. "Damn it, Jim, I did. The creature you saw matches the description of Chekhov's new pet, and Nurse Kelly and I recalibrated the field for that."

"Doctor Kelly." A young woman stepped out from behind McCoy. Sparky noticed that she was wearing nonregulation boots to very good effect. "I'm every bit the doctor that you are, McCoy."

Kirk held up a hand to forestall an explosion from McCoy. "Then perhaps, Dr. Kelly, you can explain to us what happened."

"Of course." Dr. Kelly shrugged, which did fascinating things to the hem of her tunic. "Dr. McCoy didn't allow me to test the contraception field thoroughly."

"What!?" Sparky thought McCoy's head might explode. "I told you to use the standard protocol!"

"Standard protocol is to test the males, McCoy. This little creature has six sexes."

Kirk smiled. "Six? How interesting. Why didn't you tell me this, McCoy?"

"Damn it, Jim, I'm a doctor, not a veterinarian. Who cares whether some animal has six sexes or thirteen?"

Full-on squabbling broke out between McCoy and Kelly. Kirk tapped his chin thoughtfully with his forefinger. "Thirteen? Really? Hmm."

Eventually, Spock stepped between the doctors. "If I may?"

Kirk started from his reverie. "What? Oh, yes. Bones, nurse!"


"Whatever." Kirk looked at Spock. "You were saying?"

"It seems only logical, captain, that one should test a device in all the sexes available. Human ideas of contraception depend on a standard male-female model, and if the device is only proven to work on males, any females who come into contact with a nonstandard sex may not be protected--obviously, as today's incident shows."

McCoy exploded in earnest at this point. Sparky could barely make out the words, although "green Vulcan blood" was repeated several times.

Dr. Kelly moved away from the fight toward Uhuru, who looked suddenly upset. Sparky was confused. Hadn't she heard McCoy swear at Spock before? Everyone else on the ship had.

The doctor and the communications officer left the bridge together, and Sparky thought it was a wonderful idea. However, as he took a step toward the door, he heard Kirk clear his throat.

"When you boys are done fighting and making up, do see if you can't do something about keeping these things from breeding. I'll be in my cabin when--" He looked over at Sparky. "I'll check back in later."

The captain caught Sparky's arm on the way to the door. "Walk with me, ensign. We need to discuss your transfer--and your uniforms."

Sparky sighed and resigned himself to the inevitable. "Yes, sir." They left the bridge.


Silver Fox said...

Enjoyable, especially for a Star Trek fan (dammit, jim, I'm a doctor...). As always, Spock wins the day (it seems only logical...). Poor Sparky, though. ;)

Stephanie Zvan said...

Yeah. I feel pretty bad for my characters some times. Not bad enough not to do it, of course.

Silver Fox said...

I guess we should consider ourselves lucky that we only have 2 sexes (genders) - but I can see that Cap'n Kirk might be up for a few more!

Philip H. said...

hum, six sexes. Seems like a boon for contraceptive manufacturers. After all, one needs to cover ALL ones bases when dating.

Anonymous said...

nice one!

Becca said...

Uhm... I think you are deeply flawed.
(mind, I mean this as a compliment. most of my favorite people are deeply flawed. The jury is still out on what this says about me.)

Stephanie Zvan said...

Yes, Becca, cracked through. On the other hand, how many people do you know who enjoy sitting alone and making stuff up who aren't (not to mention people with psychology degrees)?

Thanks, DM!

Phil, maybe Kirk is just getting excited at the thought because he owns pharmaceutical stock? Or not. :)

Ben Zvan said...

With the odd mix of old and new series, my brain hurt a bit. Not enough to stop reading though.

Stephanie Zvan said...

Ben, sshhhh.

Isis the Scientist said...

Damn it, SZ. I kept waiting for them to have sex and then nothing. That was like the literary version of blue balls.

Stephanie Zvan said...

Sorry, goddess. If it's smut you're looking for, JanieBelle's blog is the place.